May 25, 2024
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Pesach Food Should Nourish Your Soul

As Pesach draws near, many of us embark on a thorough cleansing of our homes, purging them of any excess clutter. Some of us even take the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual chametz we aim to eliminate from our lives. However, amidst this preparation, conversations about post-Pesach diets and concerns over the sugar and oil content in our recipes can permeate our households. While our focus is on spiritual growth during this holiday, these discussions can inadvertently detract from the Yom Tov experience, not only for ourselves but also for the impressionable children and teens gathered around our tables.

As you immerse yourself in planning your Pesach menu, you may find yourself not just considering the ingredients, but also grappling with your own feelings and judgments regarding the dishes you’re preparing. Yet, in the midst of this culinary contemplation, consider throwing out the criticism, much like we rid our homes of chametz. While it’s important to prioritize nutritious options, it’s equally vital to acknowledge the emotional significance of shared meals and cherished Pesach recipes for your family and children. These culinary traditions aren’t just about nourishment; they’re about creating enduring memories that can be treasured for generations. When you serve seemingly indulgent holiday foods to your loved ones, and they see you enjoying them too, you’re not just providing sustenance; you’re offering them a taste of tradition and a slice of cherished memories. The benefits? Uniting as a family, forging enduring bonds, and passing down meaningful customs from one generation to the next.

I recall a story shared by a well-known rabbi about a mother who, after years of serving chicken soup every Friday night, attempted to serve split pea soup. Her children were dismayed—“But it’s Shabbos!” they protested. Chicken soup does not hold special inherent meaning, but for this family (and for many!), it is synonymous with Shabbos—and a compelling illustration of the power of food memories.

As you navigate your Pesach preparations, consider embracing the emotional significance of the foods you serve. Whether it’s your grandmother’s matzah ball soup or your aunt’s chocolate-covered matzah, each dish adds to the tapestry of memories that make Pesach truly extraordinary. Alongside your nutritional considerations, be sure to prioritize the ability of food to nourish not only the body but also the soul.


Brian Pollack, LCSW, CEDS-S is an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University, certified eating disorder specialist and owner of Hilltop Behavioral Health. His work encompasses advocacy, national keynote presentations, and continued education surrounding the treatment and prevention of eating disorders.

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